Why work with us?


Evidence suggests that patients who receive care in research-active institutions have better health outcomes than patients treated in a non-research environment. By joining the research community you are actively helping to drive up the standard of healthcare for your patients. It’s also an opportunity for patients to better understand their health condition and feel like they’re giving something back to the NHS.

Clinical research provides an enhanced career path that is intellectually challenging and highly rewarding. It provides an opportunity to spend more quality-time engaging with patients and the chance to learn new techniques and approaches to treatment.

Whether you work in primary care or a hospital setting, we can support you and your team to make sure you have the resources and funding available to get involved with clinical research and make a difference to patients now and in the future. Visit our specialities page to find out more about the types of research we cover. 

For resources and materials to help you engage your colleagues in health research visit our resources website.

Life sciences companies

The free support we provide helps the life sciences industry deliver high quality research in the NHS, which gives patients access to new treatments. We offer a range of services across the research pathway that will help study feasibility, set-up and delivery to time and target. Regardless of study type, study size or therapy area of the research, we will provide consistent and high quality support throughout Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes. We have a team of dedicated advisers with a thorough understanding of the NHS research environment. Some of the things they can help you with include:

  • Regulatory approvals
  • Assistance with site identification
  • Guidance with the costings for a study

Contact: industry.crnthamesvalley@nihr.ac.uk

Study Support Service

Our Study Support team offers a bespoke service to enable a collaborative approach that responds to your overall study delivery.

The Study Support team consists of highly skilled professionals dedicated to supporting researchers in the successful set-up and delivery of high quality research, so the study can be delivered on time. As a team we are able to offer a first-rate service focusing on working with researchers to add value during study planning and set-up activities, specialising in supporting the facilitation of multi-site studies running in our network. See our study support page for more information.

Contact: studysupport.crnthamesvalley@nihr.ac.uk

Direct Delivery Team

The Direct Delivery Team was established to run studies directly on behalf of research teams to add capacity for frontline studies.

The team was initially established to support surgical studies at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is now working across specialities throughout the Thames Valley and South Midlands.

The team is overseen by a trial steering group to work with trusts to assess capacity and capability and ‘plugs a gap’ to ensure trials get up and running, for example by helping PIs who have difficulty accessing nursing resource.

The clinical team consists of two senior research nurses, two clinical research practitioners and seven clinical research nurses. The team also encompasses a dedicated administrator team of four including a study coordinator to deliver multi-site studies. Each study is allocated a team of research delivery staff with a named lead research nurse.

Training, Learning and Workforce Development

We are committed to supporting the development, learning and retention of our clinical research workforce to build capacity and deliver research to the highest standards across the region.

The workforce development team coordinates nationally and locally designed research-related training for topics including:

  • Recruitment and consent training
  • Courses supporting study delivery
  • Role and disease-specific events
  • A monthly network wide induction webinar and webinar programme of training on topical research matters
  • Training for principal investigators

Training is freely available to all staff that contribute to NIHR portfolio studies in our network.

Courses are advertised and booked at NIHR Learn.

We also support local, regional and national initiatives to develop the capacity and capability of the research workforce and find practical solutions embed research in clinical settings.

Our annual fellowship programme is a unique opportunity to develop and expand knowledge of the research landscape to grow the researchers of the future.

Contact us on training.crnthamesvalley@nihr.ac.uk.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE)

We work with research teams, partner trusts and other NIHR infrastructure to support recruitment and promote research in general using a range of communication and engagement methods.

These include promotion of stories in the media led by patient case studies, events, newsletters, talks, social media and training in Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) for the public and staff.

We also manage a network of patient volunteers under the national Research Champions programme to promote research to the public and work with researchers to ensure the patient’s voice is represented.

Our activities are supported by an online library of engagement materials including posters, booklets and videos and a survey of patients’ experiences of research.

Contact: comms.crnthamesvalley@nihr.ac.uk


Who's who? 



Dr Belinda Lennox - Clinical Director 

Belinda is Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and honorary consultant psychiatrist at Oxford Health. She is also Deputy Director of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Oxford and Clinical Lead of the Early Intervention in Mental Health Clinical Network at the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).





Dr Andrew Protheroe - Clinical Co-director

Andrew is a Consultant Medical Oncologist and Associate Professor within the University of Oxford Department of Oncology at the Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre. He has specialised in Urological Oncology at Oxford since 2001, and has run multiple clinical studies in urological cancer. He was previously the National Cancer Research Network Clinical Lead for the Thames Valley. He is currently a member of the testicular cancer National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Studies Group.





Val Woods - Chief Operating Officer

Val Woods was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in April 2014, and is responsible for the leadership and oversight of the work of the Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands. She was Senior Manager of the Thames Valley Comprehensive Local Research Network from 2009-2014. Val is a Chartered Accountant and became involved with the NHS through her appointment as Non-executive Director of the inaugural Board of South Central Ambulance Service and Chair of the Audit Committee.




Our performance

Through building stronger research networks we have overseen an increase in research activity in Thames Valley from 614 studies involving 41,691 participants in its first year, 2014/15, to 779 studies involving 63,649 participants in 2018/19.

Case study: "Bionic Eye"

In 2016, one of our portfolio studies made international headlines. Rhian Lewis, who has retinitis pigmentosa (a type of gradual sight loss) received a retinal implant and was able to read the time for the first time in more than 5 years. Doctors had inserted a tiny retinal implant chip into the back of her eye, which replaced damaged light sensitive cells (called photoreceptors). The device implant is connected to a tiny computer that sits underneath the skin behind her ear.

The "bionic eye" has been tested in Oxford as a treatment for the condition since 2012, and may one day be available for use on the NHS.

We made the delivery of this research study possible by funding several research nurse posts at the Oxford Eye Hospital, which offers patients the opportunity to take part in this and many other studies. The research was funded by the NIHR Health Research Invention for Innovation programme in partnership with Retina Implant AG and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.


Local research partners

In addition to hospitals and local GP surgeries, we work very closely with local universities as well as other research organisations. These include:

Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC)

A collaborative partnership of Oxford-based organisations covering health and social care, commissioning and service delivery, research, education and training. Tel: 01865 901000

Oxford Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN)

The Oxford AHSN is funded by NHS England and brings together universities, industry and the NHS to improve the health and prosperity in our region through rapid clinical innovation adoption.

NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)

Is a partnership that brings together the research expertise of the University of Oxford and the clinical skills of staff of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the aim of supporting translational research and innovation to improve healthcare for patients.

NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)

Is a partnership between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford to bring the best science to the complex problems of mental disorders and dementia. It is co-located with clinical facilities on Oxford’s Warneford Hospital site and collaborates with world-class facilities including Oxford’s Big Data Institute and the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma as well as global collaborators such as StemBANCC and The Structural Genomics Consortium.

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley (ARC)

The NIHR ARC Oxford carries out groundbreaking applied health research that will have a direct impact on patient health and well-being. It's a partnership between universities, healthcare commissioners and healthcare providers in the region of Oxford and the Thames Valley, hosted by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

NIHR Research Design Service South Central (RDS)

The RDS offers advice on all aspects of formulating a research proposal, including methodology, statistics, health economics and support for Patient and Public Involvement in research.

Related pages


Research Fellow Scheme